Some divorce clients are concerned about how to keep their attorney’s fees to a minimum, but few ask questions as to how to do so. Having an open dialogue with clients who are concerned about their fees in the legal system can be very rewarding both for the client and the attorney. Both parties know what the expectations are up front, which is helpful. The client isn’t saddled with bills they cannot afford and the attorney has not done work for which they are not being paid. These conversations can be very helpful when had from the beginning of the attorney-client relationship.
Here are some tips as to how to manage your costs with your divorce attorney:
(1) Be concise. Whether it is on the phone, via e-mail or in person conferences, be concise. Most people hire an attorney who they get along well with, but that doesn’t mean you should treat meetings or conversations with them as you would if you were having coffee with a friend. They are on the clock. Stick to what is relevant, make a list of questions in advance, and stay on point to manage costs.
(2) Comply on time. If you have a deadline, comply with it. In fact, be early. Having your attorney chase you for a response to a settlement agreement, discovery, or a signature can be very costly. Set reminders on your phone or write yourself notes, but comply on time.
(3) Ask how you can help keep costs down. So many clients are afraid to ask this question upfront. There are so many ways that you can assist in keeping costs down. One easy way to do so is to ask attorneys how they like things organized. A significant portion of an attorney’s time could be from getting things in order, if they are unorganized. This is particularly true with discovery. Ask if you can make copies, how to organize it and you may help keep these costs down.